Goal of the Day: Beckham gets off the mark

Saturday 07 December 2019 01:00

Today's 'Goal of the Day' showcases a first senior goal in United colours for David Beckham, against Turkish giants Galatasaray...

Date: 7 December 1994, Old Trafford, Champions League

Background: Going into the final group game of United’s first season in the modern Champions League, the situation was clear: beat Galatasaray and hope IFK Gothenburg could beat Barcelona in Spain. Given the unlikelihood of the situation and UEFA’s restrictions on the use of ‘foreign’ players at the time, Alex Ferguson opted to field a number of young players in his side. One of them, Simon Davies, required just three minutes to break the deadlock. Seven minutes before the interval, the Reds’ lead was doubled…

The goal: When an attempted clearance rebounded off Eric Cantona’s chest, Brian McClair raced towards the loose ball just inside the United area. Though Bulent Korkmaz reached it first, the Turk’s clearance bobbled enticingly towards the onrushing David Beckham, making his first European start, and the 19-year-old duly bashed a low finish past the despairing dive of visiting goalkeeper Gintaras Stauce.

What happened next: In the immediacy, Becks and his team-mates were left to rue an early exit as a 4-0 win proved insufficient to progress due to Gothenburg’s draw in Barcelona. Long term, that was no obstacle to success, however, and Beckham went on to net another 84 goals in a United career which spanned 394 outings and yielded 10 major honours.

Reaction: “I was proud of the young players,” beamed the Reds boss at the time. ''I told them to go out and enjoy the match and they did. I knew they had the talent but you always question whether they have the temperament to cope with a big match at Old Trafford. This game proved they have.”